Who should lose weight? Health experts generally agree that adults who are overweight and have weight-related medical problems or a family history of such problems can benefit from weight loss. Some weight-related health problems include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or high blood sugar levels. Even a small weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds can improve your health by lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Your body weight is controlled by the number of calories you eat and the number of calories you use each day. So, to lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you use. You can do this by becoming more physically active or by eating less.
Following a weight loss program that helps you to become more physically active and decrease the amount of calories that you eat is most likely to lead to successful weight loss. A weight loss program should also help you keep the weight off by making changes in your physical activity and eating habits that you will be able to follow for the rest of your life.
To lose weight and keep it off, you should follow a weight loss program that will work for you. Three types of weight loss programs commonly used include: do-it-yourself, clinical and non-clinical programs.
Any efforts to lose weight by you or with a group of like-minded others through support groups, worksite or community-based programs fits in the "do-it-yourself" category. Individuals using a do-it-yourself program rely on their own judgment, group support, and products such as diet books for advice.
Clinical program may or may not be commercially owned. Services are provided in a health-care setting such as a hospital, by licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurses, dietitians, and/or psychologists. In some clinical programs, a health professional works alone; in others, services are provided by a group of health professionals. This program may offer services such as nutrition education, medical care, behavior change therapy, and physical activity.
Non-clinical programs may or may not be commercially operated, such as through a privately-owned weight loss chain. They often use books and pamphlets that are prepared by health-care providers. These programs use counselors (who usually are not health-care providers and may or may not have training) to provide services to you. Some programs require participants to use the program's food or supplements.
Other weight loss methods used to treat severely overweight patients include low-calorie diets, prescription weight loss drugs and surgery. If you are considering a weight loss program and you have medical problems, or if you are severely overweight, programs run by trained health professionals may be best for you. These professionals are more likely to monitor you for possible side effects of weight loss and to talk to your doctor when necessary.
The key to successful weight loss is making changes in your eating and physical activity habits that you will be able to maintain for the rest of your life. The first step is to look at your eating and physical activity habits, thus uncovering behaviors such as television watching, that lead you to overeat or be inactive. Next you'll need to learn how to change those behaviors.